NGOs urge states to defend civil society resolution at Human Rights Council

The ICJ today joined 42 other NGOs to express deep concern regarding proposed amendments to the draft resolution on civil society space at the UN Human Rights Council.

The draft resolution on civil society space identifies key elements required to ensure that civil society can exercise its critical role in strengthening democracy, providing essential services, and promoting human rights.

It reaffirms States’ existing obligations under international human rights law to guarantee the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, and public participation, among other rights, and to protect civil society space and actors from threats, attacks or reprisals. The Resolution, if adopted, would be an important contribution to efforts to bridge implementation gaps and overcome obstacles in protecting civil society space.

However, in the days before the resolution is to be considered for adoption by the Council, some States have presented amendments that seek to undermine the spirit of the resolution and to detract from States’ obligations to protect and promote civil society space.

In a joint open letter, the 43 NGOs explain why each of the proposed amendments is unacceptable, and calls on all member States of the Council to support the draft resolution as tabled, and vote against the proposed amendments should they be brought to a vote.

The joint open letter may be downloaded in PDF format here:  Universal-CivilSocietySpaceLetter-Advocacy-OpenLetter-2014-ENG

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